What better way for me to see my first live Damned show than to see the band in their hometown at the legendary Brixton Academy. They’re touring with a two hour set that opens with the classic punk masterpiece Damned, Damned, Damned played in its entirety—which is just ridiculous in a good way.
It’s hard to believe that The Damned are celebrating their 40th anniversary as the band is still going strong. Having been the first UK punk group to release a single AND a full-length album is one hell of a legacy to live up to, but frontman Dave Vanian and guitarist Captain Sensible are certainly up to the task.
Having grown up in the US midwest, The Sex Pistols and The Clash were the only UK punk bands on my radar back in the ’80s. While both played their own unique role in the punk rock explosion, you could argue that The Damned were the spark that lit the match. Somehow I completely missed The Damned, so I have a hell of a lot of catching up to do.
The Brixton was absolutely jammed with old school punks alongside a new generation of fans who are clearly getting a solid jumpstart in their punk rock education. But the night ahead wasn’t so much about punk as it was about unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll—no frills, no fluff—what you see is what you get.
With a two hour show the band would deliver a career-spanning set along with some surprises. It’s enough to beg the question, are other bands just too fucking lazy to play a Springsteen-length set? Whatever the answer may be, The Damned systematically blasted through the iconic Damned X3 with plenty of time to treat the crowd to a dynamic second half full of punk/goth gems.
Dave and the Captain are absolute polar opposites but somehow manage to complement each other perfectly. The Captain buzzed frantically around the stage in true old school punk fashion while Dave gracefully croons—the crowd across the stage front letting out a howl that leaves not question if his voice is in fine fashion. I could easily see the Damned touring for another decade without skipping a beat or being accused of taking the band too far.
In addition to the band’s 40th anniversary, The Damned have also just released a new live album which sets up a brand new studio albumcoming in 2017.
The 40th Anniversary Tour Continues:
Dec 02 – Pavilions, Weymouth, UK
Dec 03 – Main Hall, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
Dec 04 – Phoenix Centre, Exeter, UK
Dec 09 – Margate Winter Gardens Margate, UK
Dec 13 – Sala Razzmatazz 2 Barcelona, Spain
Dec 14 – El Loco Club, Valencia, Spain
Dec 15 – Arena Madrid, Spain
Dec 16 – Jimmy Jazz Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Dec 17 – Teatro Albeniz, Gijón, Spain
Apr 07 – House of Blues San Diego, San Diego, CA
Editor’s Note: This Post Originally Appeared on The Vinyl District where I frequently write and publish.